Cogito Patris

Random Thoughts for Random People

The Story of J: Chapter 7 – Lost Time

=====Work of Fiction=====

Previous:
Chapter 6 – Welcome to Trantor
Table of Contents Next:
Chapter 8 – A Clue?

For two months J and Kat had spend most of their waking hours in the library at the University of Trantor.  For two months they had made no progress in their search for a secret society that may not even exist.

The spy that had been tailing them from the moment they landed had also spent two months at the library.  Being an expert in his craft, he was always close enough to see them, without being seen.  And close enough to hear them without being heard. 

Kat and J had quickly dismissed the use of the library’s automated search functions.  Most of the books and articles found by the search engine were fiction.  Even when they limited the search to non-fiction, the list was still riddled with a wide range of topics.  “Robotics” was a field of study even at this time.  But the robots built in the second galactic empire were nothing more than automatons.  They didn’t have the three laws built in to them…at least no more than the average tool would. 

J had spent several weeks on the more personal question of identifying himself.  But that didn’t provide any satisfaction either.  The Immigration and Naturalization Service had DNA and print records for all of the citizens of the Galactic Empire.  Since every inhabited world was a member of the Galactic Empire J should have been in the database.  But he wasn’t.

The bureaucrat that had helped him, though “Help” was probably the wrong word, simply dismissed the omission as a computer error or an omission made when he was born.  The bureaucrat simply took is records now and labeled them as “J”, then filed them in the computer.  Now he was in the records, though it wouldn’t do him any good in finding out who he really was.

Another pressing question on J’s mind at least was about the war with the Korlog that his computer had known about, but not a single person on Dundalk-4 was aware of.  At least in this respect, they had made some progress.  In fact, it was current news in the daily paper.  The paper was a government organization and the government was run by the psychologists.  So the actual words in the paper meant little.  They would assure victory while simultaneously encouraging the young to enlist.  But at least this was corroborating evidence that a war was going on.  But nowhere could J find a picture of a Kolrog.  Not even a 3-D Hyperwave image of a Kolrob ship.

But this line of interest had brought up some more questions. J decided to go back to the INS to talk to the bureaucrat.  J asked if military personnel were in the database.  The obvious answer was “Yes, after all, everyone is in the database.”

“But can a person enlist without being in the database?” J pressed on.

“No, they would make sure an enlistee was in the database.  For that matter, most major Universities do the same.  So, I suppose, if you are not in the database you are not college educated or in the military.” The bureaucrat answered.  In fact, that was the longest exchange he had with anyone in the office.  But that is as far as it went.  The next person in line was being served before J could ask another question.

Dejected and confused, he decided to head back to the Library to help Kat with her research.

“Maybe we are looking in the wrong library.” J said as he approached an obviously frustrated Kat in the library at what was quickly becoming “Her Spot”.

“What good would that do?  This is the biggest library in the Galaxy.” Kat answered in a slightly agitated voice.

“Right.  This society has managed to remain a secret for millennia.  Wouldn’t they have operatives in this library to filter any evidence of their existance?”

“What’s your point?  By that argument, they probably have operatives in all of the libraries.”

“Maybe not.  In order for a conspiracy to work, the number of people would need to remain low or the risk of exposure would increase to an unsustainable level.  I seem to remember something about that in a mathematics paper I read somewhere along the way.  So maybe one of the smaller libraries would not be censored.”

“I guess it is worth a shot.  Besides, the people working here are giving me some strange looks.  If I’m not careful they may call some psychologist to talk to me about my obsessions.”

The two young investigators stood, returned the book films they had been viewing and strolled out of the library at the University of Trantor.

“Actually” Kat said in a sudden silence breaking non sequator, “I had an idea about getting to know who you are.”

J just looked at her and waited for her to continue.

“You told me that you got nowhere at the INS, but maybe we can trace you back to you place of birth.”

“How?” J asked simply.

“Linguists can determine a root language structure just by speaking to someone.  It is universally understood that dialects differ among the planets in the galaxy.  They may not be able to tell us a specific planet, but they should be able to give us a general sector.”  Kat answered.

“I guess it is worth a shot.” J said, parroting her answer to his suggestion.

 ——-

The Linguist they found, on the grounds of the University, was a small man with large ears that made anyone who met him smile without understanding why.  He spoke in a slightly broken tongue, ironic for a linguist.  His voice was a little high for comfort and J found himself thankful he was not in one of this man’s classes.

“I am Dr. Sarton D. Pernoi.  Understanding you would like my help?”  The man said while shaking hands first with J, then, noticeably lingering, with Kat.

The pair paused for a moment before they realized the second sentence was actually a question.

“Yes.” J said finally. “I am suffering from amnesia.  I don’t know who am I or where I came from.  I was hoping you could help me with the latter.”

“Me?  Why?  The INS knows you they should.”

“They don’t. ” J said simply, without explaining the perils he had been through.

“Hmmm, so you think your speech will give an idea of where you come from.  Not a bad bit of reasoning actually.”  Dr. Pernoi said.

“Thank you.” Kat said, flashing a slightly wicked smile at J.

“There isn’t a test, though there could be one. Thinking let me.”

For more than a few minutes, the professor simply sat there transfixed.

“What floats on the water?” The doctor finally broke the silence.

Taken off guard, J hesitated before finally answering. “A boat.”

“Can you spell ‘antidisenstablishmentarianism’?”

J did so, pronouncing each letter as naturally as he could so as not to skew the results.

The test went on with apparent confusion for many minutes.  When all was done the doctor nodded in apparent confusion.

“What’s wrong” Kat said, speaking for the first time since the test had begun.”

“He doesn’t exist.” Sarton said.

“What do you mean?” J asked with a touch of anger at all he had been through just to get yet another unsatisfactory and all-to-common answer.

“Well, the Terran sector fits your vowels.  But the Pernock sector fits your adjectives.  Your ‘i’s are clearly from Anacreaon.  But your ‘g’s are from Trantor.  These sectors are nowhere near each other in the galaxy.  I must conclude then, you do not exist.”

“Can you give at least an educated guess?”

“Guess I can, educated will be up to interpretation.  Because of the lack of centralization in your speaking, I think it is possible from an old language you learned.  Newly updated to provide a lack of antiquity.”

Kat and J just stared without understanding.  The Professor tried again, this time trying to stick more closely to the galactic standard grammar.

“I think, you may have grown up in an area that taught you an old version of Galactic standard.  A root language that all of the galaxy has now changed to fit their own needs.  The irony is that old-galactic would sound so strange to a modern galactic citizen that it would not be understandable.  So, whomever taught you, modernized the language to fit more closely with modern speaking.  I don’t know of any planet that utilizes this methodology.  I suppose going to one of the older worlds might make sense.  Maybe there a religious sects of which I am unaware that may speak in this manor.  But as I said, I am unaware.”

“Thank you Dr. Pernoi” Kat said, and ushered a deject J out of the office.

“No problem, anytime to come back if you like.” Sarton called after the young pair.

Previous:
Chapter 6 – Welcome to Trantor
Table of Contents Next:
Chapter 8 – A Clue?
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December 17, 2007 - Posted by | Story of J, The

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